Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Parable of the Prodigal Poop and Other Tales of Biblical Proportions

Let's start with a parable, shall we? You know, a down to earth "sit down and let me tell you a story" story, something to draw in the knuckle draggers in the cheap seats, touching upon the heavy issues in layman's terms. The part of Jesus will be played by poop. No, wait--that's not right. Jesus is the storyteller, so I guess I'm playing Jesus. Sorry, Jesus. If we ever meet you can suckerpunch me in the gut for that one. I'm also playing the main character in the story, because it actually happened to me, and, well, I don't have that great of an imagination. The poop--long since returned to the earth, as this happened around 1976--will be played by poop.
Chill with me for a bit. Let me tell you a parable, brah.

So there's a five-year-old kid walking to the grocery store in a suburban Southern California town with his two older sisters. All three kids are barefoot, because junk hadn't hit the 'burbs quite yet and the worst thing they had to worry about sans footwear was a stubbed toe--or so the little boy thought.

It's a fine summer day and as they're walking down a grass path next to the Lucky's, the fresh-faced, golden-haired lad steps square on a pile of fresh dog shit, shoeless as the day he was born. It's warm. The Prodigal Poop squishes up between his innocent young toes. [Prodigal: "Giving or given in abundance; lavish or profuse." This pile is both lavish and profuse.] There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. He wipes his foot furiously on the non-sullied grass. Maybe he runs home and washes it, maybe he finds a piece of newsprint drifting by and wipes it, maybe he tracks it through the dairy aisle on the way to pick up some milk for his moms. Doesn't particularly matter.

What does matter is this: the boy does not turn around and step in it again. He does not walk around the block and step in it again. He doesn't take it home in a shoebox and step in it when he feels lonely. In his life, he will step in many turds, but never the same one twice. That is the lesson: never step in the same pile twice. (Proper footwear is an adjunct lesson. Our hero will become a firm believer in securely laced, closed toe shoes from here on out.)

The over-arching moral of the story fades, however, and although he never dances on the same dog doo repeatedly, he will spend years of his adult life trying to polish a turd, defining insanity by trying to do the same thing over and over and get a different result. I'm talking relationships here, people: the boy will try to convince himself that the filth oozing between his foot phalanges is somehow Scharffen Berger chocolate. Give it another chance, you know? Things will look up. Right.

This continues until somewhere around his 30th year, when this guy:
gives him some sound advice. After much listening to much wailing and gnashing of teeth over a romantic liason gone awry, the above gentlemen (thankfully not accompanied by Laughing Sal) tells our overgrown boy man the following: "You need to lose that bitch's number." Crass, perhaps, but wise beyond his years.

Don't step in the same pile twice. Second chances are great, especially if you're Jesus. The whores and the publicans will make it into the kingdom of heaven, but that doesn't mean you should date one. Know when to say when. Know your shit from your Scharffen Berger, jerk.
If it smells like shit...

Why do I bring this up? Well, because when someone texts you that she misses you, and then shows up at your job three days in a row with her "ex," the same ex who ass-dialed her whilst fucking someone else, you get contemplative. Didn't you just call this guy an unmitigated, unconscionable "douchebag" last week, when we were hanging out? Didn't you say he was not your type and was never going to be your type but you were lonely and he was around? And wasn't I the one who kept saying what a nice guy he seemed to be? Huh. And then you two got in a physical altercation on a public street corner, for which he apologized drunkenly and profusely, each time remembering to add that he "fucked the shit out of" you later that evening. As you crossed him off your douche list, I added him to mine. And you've got the nerve to ask me what's wrong when you show up with him? What the fuck do you think is wrong?

I never got my chance to go there, but that's fine. You're a full grown woman. When I think of that squirrelly little weasel climbing on top of you, I can't help but imagine the Marines raising the flag on top of Mount Suribachi after a hard fought battle: outgunned but victorious. In this case, by default.
Eh. Clearly, I am bummed out, put out, butt hurt. But as the Soul Asylum lyric goes: "there ain't nothin' I can't live without." Maybe you're meant for each other. When you're getting into someone, it really sucks to see shit work out, you know? Can't say as I haven't been the shit between someone else's toes. Done some shady shit, and not all of it is ancient history. Your lesson may turn out to be "don't step in the same pile twice," where mine is, once again, "you need to lose that bitch's number." Or, perhaps, don't step in someone else's pile: clearly when we started hanging out, you weren't done wiggling your toes in it. Which is why this shit sounds like the fucking 8th grade. Low rent drama. Low level fever. I'm out of town the next two weekends in a row, and that should be enough to forget all about it. I've got a girl, I've got a romantic connection, I got a new pair of Adidas at Ross for $20:
Lord, I've done crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land. With clean feet.

Yeah, last week had its fuckin' moments. One girl I was interested in flew back home to roost, and another fell asleep on me when we were supposed to hang out...turned out not to be too huge a problem, but it did make for a moment of stark realization at the Jack in the Crack:
Own your alone. It only stings for a bit.

Then I spent $1221 to get this bitchin' piece of footwear off my truck:
To wrap it all up, I got hit with a jury duty summons. Sweet!

Good things occurred as well. Speaking of surreal moments of self-realization, what about seeing your nine-year-old progeny sing a song by your absolute favorite artist when you were twelve:

Look out all you rock and rollers--pretty soon now you're gonna get older.

Got to hang out with my homies Alberto and Kelly at Thee Parkside on Thursday for the Jucifer, Grayceon, Serpent Crown at Thee Parkside. Here's a picture from inside the men's shitter, to keep with our scatological theme:
Minutemen cover band? What took you so long? I'm in!

Brought my new Nikon D60, didn't really break it out until Grayceon, though here's a test shot of Dara from Serpent Crown:
I used to work with her back in the day, so it was good to see her again, rockin' the fuck out.

Here's some shots of Grayceon, who were plutonium heavy:
Who knew a cello could be so heavy? Mozart, probably. That particular instrument, a "rock cello" of some sort, is particularly hideous. Reminds me of Lou Reed and his latter day penchant for stuff like Steinberger guitars:
I guess you can't play a Country Gentleman forever:
But wouldn't it be nice to think so?

Finally, Jucifer came on. Their backline was ridiculous: never seen so many amps on the Parkside's tiny stage--and that includes Duane Peters Gunfight, who had three guitars and a bass. And it was only half the gear they brought! Don't let the pop sensibilities of their albums and videos fool you: live, Jucifer brings the fucking noise.

Not all of these photos are artistically viable, or even technically proficient, but I enjoyed taking them, and to me they're all interesting experiments with the new camera. Never had a digital SLR before. Despite having cut my teeth on film, I've got to say I love it. You can look at the exposure right away and use it to figure out how the shots are turning out. You can rattle off a hundred photos without opening the camera. I've never been a National Geographic quality snapper, or that great in the darkroom, so it's ideal for me. Very forgiving medium. I do have to look into changing the layout of this blog, however...not into the long, columnar nature of the stock layout. Turns everything into a thumbnail photo.

When one drumstick is not enough.

Dig the stuffed birdie.

When one drumstick is too much.

Wig out!

I love this one.

Amber's knuckles say "ROCK STAR." Awesome.

Trying to wangle a photo pass for Pentagram, Ludicra, and Orchid at DNA on Wednesday, which will be epic.

I'll leave you with a legit parable from Franz Kafka--"Before the Law" (which would make an awesome metal song or band name). Here's Orson Welles rendition:

And a short film by Alon Levi:

And, finally, the text:

Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in sometime later on. “It is possible,” says the gatekeeper, “but not now.” The gate to the law stands open, as always, and the gatekeeper walks to the side, so the man bends over in order to see through the gate into the inside. When the gatekeeper notices that, he laughs and says: “If it tempts you so much, try going inside in spite of my prohibition. But take note. I am powerful. And I am only the most lowly gatekeeper. But from room to room stand gatekeepers, each more powerful than the other. I cannot endure even one glimpse of the third.” The man from the country has not expected such difficulties: the law should always be accessible for everyone, he thinks, but as he now looks more closely at the gatekeeper in his fur coat, at his large pointed nose and his long, thin, black Tartar’s beard, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside. The gatekeeper gives him a stool and allows him to sit down at the side in front of the gate. There he sits for days and years. He makes many attempts to be let in, and he wears the gatekeeper out with his requests. The gatekeeper often interrogates him briefly, questioning him about his homeland and many other things, but they are indifferent questions, the kind great men put, and at the end he always tells him once more that he cannot let him inside yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, spends everything, no matter how valuable, to win over the gatekeeper. The latter takes it all but, as he does so, says, “I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.” During the many years the man observes the gatekeeper almost continuously. He forgets the other gatekeepers, and this first one seems to him the only obstacle for entry into the law. He curses the unlucky circumstance, in the first years thoughtlessly and out loud; later, as he grows old, he only mumbles to himself. He becomes childish and, since in the long years studying the gatekeeper he has also come to know the fleas in his fur collar, he even asks the fleas to help him persuade the gatekeeper. Finally his eyesight grows weak, and he does not know whether things are really darker around him or whether his eyes are merely deceiving him. But he recognizes now in the darkness an illumination which breaks inextinguishably out of the gateway to the law. Now he no longer has much time to live. Before his death he gathers in his head all his experiences of the entire time up into one question which he has not yet put to the gatekeeper. He waves to him, since he can no longer lift up his stiffening body. The gatekeeper has to bend way down to him, for the great difference has changed things considerably to the disadvantage of the man. “What do you still want to know now?” asks the gatekeeper. “You are insatiable.” “Everyone strives after the law,” says the man, “so how is that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?” The gatekeeper sees that the man is already dying and, in order to reach his diminishing sense of hearing, he shouts at him, “Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.”

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